Increase Sales By 35% in 6 Weeks or Less: 5 Direct Response Advertising Tips

Increase Sales By 35% in 6 Weeks or Less: 5 Direct Response Advertising Tips

As a Direct Response advertising agency, we have executed hundreds of campaigns over the last 25-plus years. We have seen that creating a solid Direct Response campaign can increase sales immediately. Usually clients see an increase in response by 30% to 40% in just a few short weeks, transitioning from branding to direct response. Here are some tips to help you do the same.

1.) Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes. See how they feel. Then take them off, look at them, smell them and ask yourself what’s really important to the person wearing them. The heart of Direct Response is communicating “what’s in it for the customer” in tangible ways that garner attention and action. Where branding campaigns are usually trying to build positive recall and feelings toward a brand, direct response campaigns get to the heart of why a potential customer should act now and explain how the product or service provides the solution they need. When you are creating your ads, it’s crucial to put yourself in the mind and heart of your target customer. Your creative should answer the following questions.

  • How is this product or service going to benefit me or make my life better?
  • Why should I trust what this advertiser is saying?
  • How can I find out more if I am interested?
  • Why should I act now and not put off my decision any longer?
  • Will this product or service benefit me more than others I have heard about or seen?
  • What am I risking? (time, money or both) Why is this worth the risk?

2.) Make it easy for your customer to respond. So many advertising campaigns today are very creative but are confusing. How many ads have you seen that left you asking, “How does that relate to me?” or “What was that even about?” With Direct Response advertising, you should tell your customers how to respond along and why they should respond. Here are some tips to do that:

  • TV Ads: Put the call to action on the screen within the first two seconds of the ad.
  • Radio Ads: Repeat the call to action at least three times.
  • Digital Ads: Use an action button that leads to user-friendly landing page.
  • Digital Ads: Shorten the response form to the minimum number of fields possible.

3.) Negotiate or hire a media buyer to get 35% or more ad time for the same investment. With broadcast media like national and local cable, national and local radio, streaming services and podcasts, there are typically two different rate structures depending on the type of advertiser you are. There are branding rates and direct response rates. A straightforward tactic is to create a Direct Response ad and then request the Direct Response rates for placing your media. Typically, you can save 35% to 50% off the standard brand rate card and sometime much more.

You need to know this about the Direct Response world: Your ads can be bumped if someone outbids you. However, a good media buyer knows the rates you need to be at to make the buys profitable for you. Sometimes it’s ok to sit on the sidelines if another advertiser is willing to pay a premium for a short amount of time. The Direct Response strategy is to deliver a positive ROI on your media day in and day out… week in and week out.

4.) Build trust. Building trust is one of the cornerstones of Direct Response advertising. Depending on the type of product or service you offer, trust may appear in the form of independent reviews, real customer testimonials and rating services like BBB and Trustpilot. No amount of good creative can overcome distrust on the customer’s part. Trust must be an integral part of everything you do. New customers are going to be looking for reasons to trust you. Give it to them. Let them know it’s safe and wise to do business with you.

5.) Limit risk. The ability to build trust gives the customer comfort in doing business with you, while limiting their risk helps motivate them to act. There are several ways to limit the risk for potential customers. Take 14-day, risk-free trials, for example. Many subscription-based companies give potential customers the ability to try a product or service for two weeks to see if it’s a good fit. From weight loss to meal prep to supplements, you will see this strategy implemented because it’s very effective. Offering a money-back guarantee is another risk-lowering strategy. Some companies even offer to cover shipping. Make it clear and make it easy. Free information is used often for higher ticket items that take more time to explain than a typical 30-second spot can convey. It can be a white paper, brochure or educational video. Free is one of the most powerful words in Direct Response advertising. Use it to your advantage.

These five tips can help you realize an immediate increase in response and sales. Use them and reap profitable rewards.

How to Make Your Radio Advertising Work: Radio Advertising Agency “Secret Sauce”

How to Make Your Radio Advertising Work: Radio Advertising Agency “Secret Sauce”

According to the Nielsen Total Audience Report, radio reaches 92% of Americans age 18+ each and every week. To compare that impact with other media sources, smartphones reach 83% of Americans each week; TV reaches 89% of Americans each week; and computers reach 50% of Americans each week. And this is happening while other advertising outlets like cable TV are losing audience–a phenomenon known as “cord-cutting.”

Radio is growing.

Author Annette Malave, SVP of the Radio Advertising Bureau, reports “The only medium noted as not experiencing declines, or better positioned as having a consistent audience reach, was radio – around 90% for at least the past nine years.” Each other medium noted within the release – newspapers, cable TV, network TV, local TV and digital-native news – had declines ranging from 5% to 15%.”

Malave goes on to report how Pew Research Center’s “5 Facts” mean a lot to radio. So in keeping in Pew Research Center’s “5 Facts” format, here are top five facts (along with supporting data) about radio:

1. Radio’s listening audience is growing.

  • June 2014: radio reached 244 million people weekly1
  • June 2018: radio reached over 247 million people weekly1

2. Radio reaches consumers on the go – wherever or whenever they want it – live or via streams, apps, podcasts and across devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, smart TVs or smart speakers.

  • Online radio listening is growing to 180 million people monthly2
  • Podcast listening growth to 124 million people2

3. Radio has an emotional connection unlike any other medium.

  • 87% say that broadcast radio personalities make them laugh4
  • 64% would follow their radio personality if they went to another radio station4
  • 61% stated that the personalities on radio stations make them think4
  • 51% see radio stations personalities or DJs like a friend/family4
  • 46% trust radio station personalities – they are opinion leaders4

4. Radio is local.

  • 84% of listeners believe that radio’s primary advantage is its local feel.3

5. Radio delivers results.

  • Radio delivers a $10 to $1 ROI5
  • Radio delivers a 29% lift in incremental Google search6
  • Radio delivers campaign awareness lift when combined with other media7

Since Radio reaches 92% of Americans age 18+, that makes radio America’s number one Reach Medium. So, the questions are: “How can I make radio work for my business?” and “What do I need to know to make my radio campaign successful?”

Here are Q&As to make your radio campaign successful.

Q: How do I make a radio commercial that’s effective?

A: Create your ads with the customer in mind. Know the problem that you are solving and develop your spots to deliver the solution. Customer-centric creative needs to present the problem, provide the customer with a clear solution in words and terms that the customer can easily understand “what’s in for them,” create a sense of urgency, and deliver a strong call to action. Great creative is the foundation for an effective radio campaign. According to Radio Recall Research of over 2,500 different radio commercials, neither humor nor music provided any help in brand recall. What’s important is that your creative delivers a clear and compelling message that your product or service can help make their life better. Provide proof in your creative and make it easy for them to try it out. Here are what actual radio listeners said they would like to hear in the ads on their favorite radio stations. Based on an online sample of 622 radio listeners ages 18-54, here is what they said would make a compelling radio spot:

  • Provide them with information on places to go and things to do (63%)
  • Help them learn about local businesses (41%)
  • Something that builds in-store traffic (40%)
  • Connect them with their local area (39%)
  • Prompt online action (38%)
  • Create Ads with messages that they retain (38%)
  • Tell them why to buy (26%)

(Source: NuVoodoo Media Services proprietary study for RAB, 2013)

Here are some things to avoid in your radio commercials. These elements are guaranteed to make the radio listener turn the station, tune out and probably be angry or feel negative toward your brand. Do these and you are certain to fail with your radio ads:

  • Use a police siren or ambulance sound effect.
  • Use a record scratch sound effect.
  • Use throw-away phrases that people tune out like “Now is the time to buy. Wait. There’s more. We’re #1 in the … business.”
  • Use unrealistic language in a slice of life ad. “Hi, Amy. How is your day going?” “Great, Jill. I just called 555-attorney to get start my medical malpractice lawsuit started.”

According to the Psychology of Advertising report in Marketingprofs.com, the emotion of “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales. Advertising campaigns that performed well had 31% emotional content and 16% rational content.

So, make sure your voiceover talent is friendly and that their voice builds trust. Create an opportunity for a radio listener to like your brand and your offer, even if they don’t need your product or service now. One day they will, and you want them to think of you in a positive way when it’s time to purchase.

Q: How do I break through the clutter? How can I get my customer’s attention?

A. Use 60-second radio spots and not 30-second spots if you really want your spots to generate sales. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, “60-second spots have a higher recall than 30-second spots. If two commercials are exact in length, then the commercial with the greater amount of words will have higher recall.” Another reason to use 60-second spots over 30-second spots is the value. In television you usually get a 50% discount on 30-second ads vs. 60-second ads. But that is not always the case in radio. Usually radio stations will try to keep an average unit rate of about 65% to 70% for 30s vs. 60s. So, you don’t get half off many times. You don’t always save 50% by using 30-second vs. 60-second spots. As a rule, a 60-second radio spot should contain 160 to 170 words. A 30-second radio spot should contain 80 to 85 words. You want to give the voice talent time to deliver your message in a compelling way and not just read as fast as they can. This will give you time to build the trust and awareness you need for the customer to respond.

Q: How do I reach more customers? How do I stop wasting dollars on ads that don’t work?

A: Target your ad to run on the stations and formats your customers listen to most. As stated before. radio is a reach medium. You can cost effectively reach your audience if you know what format your customers listen to. Here are some guidelines:

Q: How do I make money on my radio advertising?

A: Don’t pay too much for your spots. Advertising rates are negotiable. The station will send you a rate card. But that really is like sticker price on a car. You should be able negotiate based on the actual audience they deliver in the time or daypart you want to advertise:

Standard dayparts are Monday through Friday 6am to 7pm; these are also known as rotators.
Morning Drive is Monday through Friday 6am to 10am.
Mid-Day is 10am to 3pm.
Afternoon Drivetime is Monday through Friday 3pm to 7pm.

Professional media buyers will negotiate based on the cost per thousand (CPM) or Cost per Point (CPP). This is an indicator of the cost to tell one thousand people about your product or service. For example, if the station you are negotiating with delivers 25,000 Average Quarter Hour (the average number of listeners every 15 minutes, noted as AQH) for Adults aged 25-54, you can offer to pay $10 per thousand or $250 per spot. You should be able to negotiate for more aggressive pricing during the first and third quarter of the year and less so during the second and fourth quarter of the year when seasonal demand for inventory is higher.

It’s wise to get a professional media buyer on your side. They know what the market is delivering and usually have relationships that can get you the maximum number of spots and audience for your investment. Radio spot rates are negotiable. You don’t have the pay what’s on the rate card.

Use these guidelines to build a better performing radio campaign. Radio is theatre of the mind. It has held its own with the onslaught of digital media. It’s local. It’s loved. People feel a connection to their favorite hosts. You can use radio’s powerful influence to create awareness, demand and results for your business.

Sources: 1 Nielsen, RADAR 124 and 137, June 2014 and 2018, M-Su 24-hr. weekly cume P12+; 2The Infinite Dial 2018, Edison Research/Triton Digital; 3 Jacobs Media, Techsurvey 2018; 4 Vision Critical/MARU, November 2017; 5 Nielsen Catalina 2014-2016; 6 RAB: Radio Drives Search, 2017, Sequent Partners, Media Monitors, Inf4mation Insights; 7 New Research/IAB, 2016.

Media Buying: 5 Steps for Developing a Successful Plan

Media Buying: 5 Steps for Developing a Successful Plan

There are smart reasons to advertise. In today’s competitive environment your advertising has to work even harder to break through the clutter, gain market share, create buzz and beat out the competition. However, cost-effectiveness and ROI begins with the right approach to media buying.

According to the RAB, here are 10 reasons why advertising is so critical:

  1. Advertising creates store traffic or web traffic.
  2. Advertising attracts new customers.
  3. Advertising encourages repeat business.
  4. Advertising generates continuous business.
  5. Advertising is an investment in success.
  6. Advertising keeps you competitive.
  7. Advertising keeps your product, service or business Top-of-Mind with customers.
  8. Advertising gives your business a successful image.
  9. Advertising maintains morale.
  10. Advertising brings in big dollars for your business.

While there are great reasons to advertise, the question becomes “How do we advertise wisely? What does it take to develop a successful media plan?” Or more often than not, the question we get asked is “How much should I budget? Or “How much should we spend to have our advertising be successful?”

These are absolutely the right questions to ask because you don’t want to spend too little and never know if your advertising would have worked if you would have invested just a little more. And you don’t want to spend too much and waste money.

You don’t need more advertising options. There are so many it can be distracting. You need to know which of the advertising options are going to give you the maximum Return on Investment. So here are some steps to consider when developing a media plan and how we at DX Media Direct begin to establish the right-sized media plan for clients.

Step One: Establish your target metric for results. Make it measurable. Make it specific. Make it count.

The first step to developing a successful media plan is to know exactly what you want or need from your plan for you to consider the advertising investment a success. This looks different for every company. If you are a retail location, then you would like to see more customers, foot traffic, and same store, same month, year over year sales increases. If you are a web-driven company, then it could be visitors and purchases from your site.

One way to help clarify what you need to get from your advertising is to finish this statement: If I spend $1,000 in advertising, I need this _______________ to happen. Fill in the blank. You answer could be a number of new customers, number of sales dollars, number of prospects, increase in store visitors, number of unique visitors to your website or follows on social media. Then you need to consider how many opportunities you need to convert to the specific number of sales to make that $1,000 a profitable investment.

For example, if you convert 10% or 1 in 10 prospects into a sale and you make $500 per sale on average, then your advertising needs to deliver 20 prospects for you to break even on your media. That’s because you create two customers on average based on your conversion ratio. So, you gain $1,000 in sales for every $1,000 you invest. That’s also known as 1 to 1 Media Effectiveness Ratio. Most companies are looking for a 2.5 to 1 or 3 to 1 Media Effectiveness Ratio.

What you fill in the blank with is the foundation and metric that every part of your media plan must achieve to continue being part of your media plan. That’s your benchmark. That’s your target metric. It’s also known as a KPI or Key Performance Indicator. Once you have established your Key Performance Indicator, then you need to review your sales process and develop a plan for measuring the response rate, conversion ratio and lifetime value of your customers.

Step Two: Match your media mix to the way you sell.

How you sell and who you sell to (your target customer) determines how you advertise. Delivering optimal advertising results is specific to your organization. When, where, how and who your customers are will guide you to your optimal media mix. Each company has established a sales system that works for them because of how they connect best with their target customers. It could be leads from a website to an in-house sales team. It could be you sell best 100% online. If you have retail outlets, then you want more opportunities for face to face customer interaction. Every media type has strengths and weaknesses. For example:

  • Radio is great at driving response from M-F, 6am to 7pm.
  • Facebook has certain times of day that are stronger for results because more people are free to look at it.
  • TV is dominant in Primetime and weekends.
  • Outdoor is excellent for “Exit Here” strategies.

At DX Media Direct, we work hard to make sure the media mix matches the highest conversion rates for each specific company and the way they sell. Write down your responses to the following statements. This will guide your agency or media buyer to determine the best media mix and plan for the maximum results.

  • I convert more prospects to sales at this time of day and these days of the week.
  • My best salespeople work during these hours and days of week.
  • My sales system is this. Be specific on how you handle responses from the start of the selling process to converting a customer.
  • Seasonality impacts my sales. Yes or no?
  • My worst sales days are these.
  • I’m closed these hours and these days.
  • My best customers are age, gender, income and psychographic segmentation, which means dividing your market based upon consumer personality traits, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.
  • My best customers really seem to enjoy ___________.
  • Most of my customers live ______________ miles from our location.
  • Location is not a factor in how we get business.
  • My customers say they purchase from us because ________________.
  • My customers are web savvy, shop and compare all the time. Yes or no?

Your agency should begin to see which media should be included in your media plan once some of these answers come to light.

Step Three: Create a test plan to measure how the initial media plan performs before a complete rollout.

Once you have your target metrics, how you sell and when you sell the most, then a media plan will begin to emerge. A good media plan usually has a mix of media because customers now research and respond in several ways. They search you on their smartphone, look up reviews, check you online, see if your website answers some initial questions for them, look up your Facebook page and even stop by your retail location or call. There is a best-in-class strategy for each media you use.

The key is to test the initial media plan, review the results and refine the plan before you roll out more budget. We usually recommend three- to four-week tests initially. Your media should be delivering at 65% to 75% of your stated goals within the first test phase. If certain media outlets are only performing at half of goal, or 50% of your target, then this media needs to be eliminated or re-analyzed to see why it’s underperforming.

Step Four: Make sure you get enough frequency to move prospects through the purchase funnel: “Awareness, Interest, Desire to Action.”

In broadcast, you will want to target a minimum frequency of three times. Erwin Ephron writes in his article the rule of three, “Exposure No. 1 is a ‘What is it?’ type of response. Anything new or novel—no matter how uninteresting—on second exposure has to elicit some response the first time… If only to disregard the object as of no further interest. The second exposure response is ‘What of it? Does this have relevance to me?’ By the third exposure, the viewer knows he/she has been through the ‘What is it and what of it?’ phases. The third exposure becomes the true reminder.”

For radio we suggest a minimum 25 spots per week Mon.-Fri. from 6am to 7pm. Optimum Effective Scheduling, which helps you determine the number of spots to achieve a frequency of three times on radio, is based on the formula Cume / AQH X 3.29 = OES or Optimum Effective Scheduling. This gives you the calculation for the number of times your message needs to air to reach your target audience at least three times in a week.

Optimum Effective Schedules will direct you to much higher frequency weekly, but you can save on budget by advertising fewer weeks of the month to deliver a greater yield than if you had a low number of spots spread out for 52 weeks. Again, your agency and or media buyer should help guide you to the most efficient way to execute the test.

Step Five: Let the Data drive you and take the emotion out of the media plan.

When you start advertising and planning your media, it’s easy to let emotions drive you. A customer comment, a salesperson’s input, and anecdotal observations can drive you crazy and get you off target. Once you begin to execute the media plan, then evaluate the performance based on the results each media buy accomplished. As long the media is performing you can create other campaigns that are similar in target audience, CPM, reach and frequency, and results. There will be ups and downs, but they should be manageable.

Paul J. Meyer writes: “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” When you have built a smart media plan, you will harvest solid, stable results.

Game Changers: How to Improve Advertising Results

Game Changers: How to Improve Advertising Results

It was over a foot long. It weighed more than two pounds. It cost about $4,000 for just one.
No one would carry it around today. In fact, Will Smith told Tommy Lee Jones in the movie Men in Black 3, “Don’t put that thing near your head.”

It was the Motorola Dyna Tac 8000X. It was approved by the FCC in 1983 and changed the way people saw telephones. It was the first phone that could operate without being plugged in–the first phone you could use while walking around a city block. It changed how we communicate. The idea and reality that we could carry a phone with us impacted the way we live. We now expect to be able to communicate wirelessly any time—24 hours a day and 7 days a week. And we do.

Game changers. It can happen in sports, in business or in life. One idea. One new technology. One chance meeting. Or it can be a series of steps dedicated to a specific goal where a company or individual applies discipline to change the landscape, gain market share or crush a competitor. Dedication, focus and discipline can set your foundation for discovering or becoming a game changer.

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business landscape, there are some strategies you should consider that can be a game-changer for your company.

Strategy 1: Claim Your Google Map Listing

It’s free and allows you to update information like business hours, services and photos. Claiming your Google Map listing increases customers’ abilities to find you and build loyalty. Google Maps helps you promote new services and products. You will generate more business by communicating what customers can expect when they look you up. If you have not done so go to https://www.google.com/business. If you are having an event or sale, you can update your listing and gain an advantage for Search Engine Optimization over your competitors. 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. Don’t miss this. It could bring in new customers and change your bottom line in a very short amount of time.

Strategy 2: Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Making sure your website is mobile-responsive and easily viewed on smartphones is critical. Here is why: Google reports that 50% of ALL Google search traffic is now on mobile phones. And again, these searches result in sales. 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. Over 80% of Americans use smartphones while watching television. And 90% of smartphone users move between devices to accomplish their goal, which is more likely to be shopping and spending money than anything else.

If your site is mobile friendly, then you will likely get a ranking boost from Google. Google has stated that they will “downgrade” or push sites lower in rankings if sites are not configured to deliver a fast mobile experience. There is a free tool to see if your site is mobile friendly. Here is the link: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. If you find your site is not performing well in the mobile search world, then make the investment. Making your customers’ experience a positive one on their smartphone ties into our next game changer.

Strategy 3: Start Thinking Like Your Customers

It was a hot July afternoon in Orlando. I was in line with my four-year-old son to get Goofy’s autograph at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Neither one of us wanted to be there. But he was particularly vocal about it. He kept screaming “I don’t want Goofy’s autograph. I don’t care anything about Goofy!” The heat was sweltering and his cheeks were flushed. However, his older sister and mom were dead set on getting the costumed character’s autograph. He began to cry and so I took him to a bench to give him a change of scenery and some space. Plus, I was tired of standing in line, too.

As he continued to cry an Ice Cream vendor came up and asked me if he could “give my son a Mickey Mouse-shaped ice-cream on a stick.” I looked perplexed and asked, “For Free?!” This was Disney World after all. He simply answered. “I have that power. No one should cry at the happiest place on earth.” I realized then how Disney had thought of every detail and how to change a negative customer experience into a positive one. They empowered their employees to see a need and meet it. A crying child did not represent their brand well. How could it be the happiest place on earth if kids cried all the time? Disney makes a positive customer experience their primary goal.

When you start thinking like your customers, you begin to discover their habits, emotions, language, what’s important to them and what’s not important to them. Then all of a sudden, you begin to view everything you do with fresh eyes. The wording on your website, the creation of your ads, the media mix and the media buys that target customers when they shop–what they look for, what they talk about, the problems you solve for them–all these considerations begin to take on a different shape. When you walk a mile in your customers’ shoes, then you can truly craft messaging that matters to them.

Author Steven MacDonald reports that “almost 70% of customers quit doing business with a company because they feel like the company does not care about them.” He also writes that truly putting your customers first means that you begin the discipline of these key customer-focused elements. “Understanding your customer, developing customer-focused leadership, designing the customer experience to be customer focused from start to finish, empowering the front line, looking at metrics that matter and getting customer feedback. Then you can continually improve.”

Famed ad executive David Ogilvy said, “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.”

Another way to look at it is this: If you had a family member you cared about that was about to do business with a company like yours and purchase your type of product or service, then ask yourself: “What should I tell them they need to watch out for? What do they need to know to make an informed decision that is going to help them get what they need?” Whatever you would say to them is going to be in their best interest. They trust you. You are looking out for them. You have their back. Do the same for your customers. Communicate to them in the same way. Watch out for their good. Do good.

Sam Walton of Walmart and Sam’s Club said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Customer service speaker and expert Shep Hyken says, “Kindness and courtesy are at the root of a positive customer service experience.”
Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin Group of companies, says it best, “Doing good is good for business.”
All true statements. All good reasons to get into the mind and heart of your customer.

Strategy 4: Set Performance Goals for Every Dollar Invested.

The danger of success and consistent growth is that you can get lazy about measuring what is working and what is not. It’s when the economy changes and times get lean that you begin to really drill down into what you can afford to keep and what needs to go. Why wait for a change in business, markets or the economy when you can establish success metrics now and discover how to grow sales in any type of market?

When you set goals for your advertising and marketing investments, then you get a clear picture of what is performing and what is not. You take emotions out of the equation, and you can make rational decisions based on performance. If you invest $1,000 in an ad, what do you want from it? How will you measure it? When will you know if it succeeded or failed? What can you do change it? You should be able to answer all these questions before you spend any money. We all have expectations in life. We should not be afraid to write down what we expect from our marketing investment in terms of response, leads, sales growth and ROI.

Strategy 5: Check Out Your Competitors.

It’s always wise to understand how your messaging and marketing compares to your competitors in your line of business. There are a few tools out there that can let you see what your competitors are doing, how they are communicating and what they are offering.

  • For pay-per-click ads, you can check out a service like Spy Fu. There is a monthly cost, but it might be worth it to see how your competitors are using pay-per-click and how much they are investing.
  • For display and banner advertising, then you can check out www.moat.com. It allows you to search current and past display ads by brand name. There is a free version of Moat, and you can upgrade if you want to see more competitor data. It’s incredibly useful and fast.
  • If you want to look up television spots and advertisements, then you can go to www.ispot.tv. You can browse ads by brand. If you want to get estimates on investment, then you have to pay a fee. But it’s a good way to keep current with creative trends.

One or all of these can truly change the playing field and help you improve your advertising and marketing results. Game changers… It feels good to win.

Direct Response Copywriting

Direct Response Copywriting

How it’s different from other marketing & advertising creative

When it comes to Direct Response copywriting, there are some tried-and-true formulas you can use to get more results from every ad. Direct Response copy is much different from brand advertising because the entire purpose of the copy or ad is to drive the customer to act, respond and do something now. It could be clicking on your ad, following you on social media, filling out a form, requesting a free trial, calling in to purchase your product or signing up for your newsletter. The heart of Direct Response copywriting and creative is to connect you directly to the customer by getting them to respond to this particular ad right at this moment.

Brand advertising, on the other hand, is designed to create recall, develop affinity toward a brand and increase awareness of a certain brand. For example, consider Ford vs. Chevrolet vs. Dodge trucks. Each automaker brand wants you to think of them as a better value when you consider purchasing a vehicle. However, you will usually need to go to one of their dealers to purchase.

In the Direct Response world, the advertiser wants you to make a decision, act immediately and respond directly to them… now. This request may take the form of a 60-second ad, 30-second ad, a Facebook post, a Google ad or an Infomercial. The creative is designed to take you from awareness to interest to desire to demand to conversion all in one setting. To get an individual to respond to your advertising right then and there is challenging to say the least. It takes years of fine-tuning your craft and millions of dollars in testing to understand the “magic dust” of Direct Response copywriting. Here are seven tips to help you create Direct Response copywriting that delivers more results from every advertising campaign.

1.) 3-Second Rule: You have 3 seconds to grab your customer’s attention.

Make it relevant. Make it count. Your headlines or lead text in Direct Response copy should be 100% focused on engaging the customer immediately. The more you know about your customer and what’s important to them, the better you will be able to craft the lead in text. Advertising veteran David Ogilvy writes, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body of the copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Your headline or lead copy needs to break through the mundane clutter and chatter and make your target audience take notice. This is true for your Facebooks ads, Google AdWords, television spots, radio ads, Social Media and even newsletters. Here are some examples of effective headlines or lead-in samples from Jill Ferris (“Response Capture”), “Most Money—Making Headlines of All Time,” and others from around the web:

  • Thousands have this priceless gift but never discover it.
  • 27 Discounts Seniors Get Only If They Know.
  • Free book tells you 12 secrets for losing weight.
  • Great new discovery that kills kitchen odors quick.
  • For the woman who wants to look younger than she is.
  • Seven Steps to Financial Freedom.
  • The most expensive mistake you can make in your life.
  • How to burn body fat hour by hour.
  • Can you spot these 7 decorating sins?
  • The secret of making people like you ____.
  • You can laugh your money worries away if you do this.
  • If your pharmacist goofs, you could be dead. How to protect yourself – takes just 3 seconds.
  • Major diet plans. Which ones actually work. Which ones are guaranteed to torture you, Cost A Fortune and leave you fatter.
  • You can save $668 on car insurance when you switch.
  • How to easily kill 98% of all mold in your home.
  • Tech scam backfires. Victims Get Millions.
  • Is your phone spying on you? Here is how to find out.

Notice how they grab your attention and leave you wanting more. If you are curious about what they are offering, then you are compelled to finish the ad to find out the pay-off.

Now let’s compare these to some current branding lead-ins. Notice the difference or lack of “What’s in It for Me?” You will find more corporate-focused wording and less individualized, customer-focused creative appeal.

  • How do you become America’s best-selling brand? (Ford)
  • It’s summer signature pancakes at IHOP (IHOP)
  • America, it’s a shame you are not in the tournament (World Cup), but Iceland can use your support. We don’t have enough people to do the wave. (Volkswagen)
  • Tag Heuer – What Are You Made Of?
  • The Shoe Works if You Do. (Nike)
  • The world is a stage. Make it a Memorable Performance. (Lexus)
  • Can’t beat the Real Thing. (Coke)
  • Over 1/3 of Americans have no retirement savings. This is getting old. (E-Trade)
  • There is no mystery. Dove is the No.1 Shampoo. (Dove)

While the branding ads can be interesting, state facts about sales volume, deliver humor or enlighten, they don’t lead you toward taking an action, listening, watching, clicking, engaging to find out what’s next, or making you want to take any action to find out more.

2.) Deliver the Goods. “Sell the Problem You Solve–Not the Product You Sell.”

Once you have gotten your target audience’s attention, then you need to communicate to them why they are going to benefit from responding to your advertisement. Entrepreneur Magazine author Jeff Shore writes, “Every purchase decision (every decision, no exceptions) begins with the buyer’s current dissatisfaction. Feeling dissatisfied with something automatically makes a person a buyer.” Once you have the attention of your target customer, you have to answer this question. What are they going to get by responding to your ad? Give them concrete reasons why it’s worth their time to react. If you are promoting a health supplement or weight loss ad, show them the results others have had from using your product. If you are saving them time, money or making them feel better about themselves, then explain how their life is going to be markedly better by responding to your offer. Here are some examples of some successful Direct Response campaigns that deliver on what they are promoting:

“Lose up to 13 pounds and 7 inches in your first month.” (Nutrisystem)

“800 Pet Meds. We sell the exact same pet medications as the Vet but for 10%, 20% up to 50% less. And get free shipping for orders over $39.” (800 Pet Meds)

“Promote what makes your business great with Vistaprint business cards. 500 cards start at just $9.99.” (Vistaprint)

“Looking for a real relationship? Check out Match right now for Free.” (Match.com)

3.) Ignite Action with a Sense of Urgency.

Direct Response advertising creative performs better when you give the target customer a reason to act now and create a sense of urgency. It could be seasonal sale that ends on a specific date, a limited-time offer, or a special add-on the customer gets only if they respond now. Think about what you can do to ignite the customer action. Here some samples of this strategy:

“40% off Yellow Tag items. Deals end June 30th.” (Lumber Liquidators)

“Window Nation buy one, get one Free sale. Call by the end of the month and get 0% financing for 36 months.”

“Call or click in the next 15 minutes and get our exclusive activity tracker. A $75 value. Yours free.” (South Beach Diet)

4.) Use Words that are Proven to Motivate.

These are also known as Power Words or Persuasive Words. Gregory Ciotti wrote about these words in his post for Copyblogger. They have proven to light up our brain. You will need to have good reason to add them, but when it makes sense then you should include these words in your creative. Here they are:

  • You
  • Free
  • Because
  • Instantly
  • New
5.) Deliver a Call to Action.

Tell you target customers exactly what you want them to do. Where branding campaigns can leave you with a positive feeling about their brand, a well-crafted Direct Response copywriting will give the customer specific directions on how to respond. Call now. Click here. Donate now. Shop Now. Watch it now. Don’t miss out. Good Direct Response creative always gives clear direction on the action customers need to take if they are interested in the offer.

6.) Build Trust.

Many times, what you are offering is new or needs to have additional reasoning behind it to get the customers to act. This is why it’s critical to build trust. You can do this by adding testimonials from satisfied customers of your product or service. These need to be legitimate. For legal reasons, integrity and effectiveness, the testimonials you use should be from people who have had a positive experience and are more than willing to share that with others. You can also build trust with associations like BBB, Trustpilot and others.

7.) Limit Risk.

Good Direct Response copywriting usually offers prospects the ability to start a relationship with your company at very limited risk to them. The goal of limiting risk is to create comfort and move the client from desire to action. Here are some examples:

  • Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
  • Try Spotify Premium for FREE.
  • 30 Day Free Trial. Get Full access to premium for 30 days Risk Free! (Florida Gators)
  • Love it or your money back.
  • If you are not satisfied, we are not satisfied. 100% money-back guarantee.
  • 60-Day No Hassle Money-Back Guarantee.
  • Our Unbeatable Double Guarantee. Replace the product. And Refund Your Money.

These are your 7 Tips for to get better results from your Direct Response copywriting. If you need help creating your TV, Radio, Outdoor or Digital ads, we are at your service. Just contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Put our 30 years of advertising experience and volume discounts to work for you. Call 940-323-1101 ext. 1.

7 Steps for Hiring the Right Direct Response Advertising Agency

7 Steps for Hiring the Right Direct Response Advertising Agency

You feel stuck. Your marketing has hit a wall. You know you need help to grow and break through the marketing clutter, but you don’t know exactly how. And your current direct response advertising agency isn’t moving heaven and earth to find out why.

It could be that your advertising–which used to work–no longer delivers. You feel like your marketing is not as good as it can be, and you are certain some part of it is broken—you’re just not sure which part. You need a marketing doctor because your marketing plan is sick. Or you may need a marketing surgeon because some part of your marketing needs to be strategically removed and replaced with a healthy marketing plan.

If your business depends on leads, customers and sales that your advertising drives directly to your business (no storefront), then you are in the market for a professional direct response advertising agency.

So, how do you know when a direct response advertising agency is a good fit? After nearly 30 years in the Direct Response advertising world, we have some tips on what you should look for when hiring an agency.

Tip #1: Research their core competencies.

A good Direct Response Advertising agency will not be a one-trick pony. Although many advertising agencies promote the fact that they can do everything well, they may have a core competency in only one particular media. You can find out by asking for their list of long-term clients and seeing what types of media these clients are actively using to drive sales. If your customer base is nationwide, inquire about the current campaigns the agency is managing on national radio, national cable television, network television, podcasts and Pay Per Click. If you only do business in certain markets, then don’t be afraid to inquire as to what type of advertising that agency is buying in your target markets. A solid Direct Response Advertising Agency won’t shy away from telling you about the experiences they have had in both the media and markets you want to be a part of. In fact, they should also be asking you questions about your company, which relates to our second tip.

Tip #2: Make sure they are good listeners.

A great Direct Response Ad Agency will also be a team of great listeners. That’s because they truly need to understand your business inside and out. They need to hear about your customers, what has worked in the past, what has failed, what you need to accomplish, what needs to change and how you sell. They should have plenty of questions, seek to understand your corporate and sales goals and most importantly listen to your answers. If they start giving you rates and budgets before knowing what you need, how you sell and how you process inbound customers, then watch out. As a rule, if you start getting advertising rates, packages and promotions without feeling like this agency really understands how, where and why you do business, then beware. Pause. They should also be asking you questions regarding the problems you solve for your customers. A great Direct Response Advertising Agency is going to want to get into the minds and motivations behind your best customers.

  • What do you offer that creates desire and demand for your product or service?
  • What gives you a competitive advantage?
  • What makes you different?
  • What do you have to offer that other companies don’t?
  • Why should someone respond to your ads?

In addition, they should understand your particular selling process. When and where do you realize the best ROI? When are you staffed with your best salespeople? At what times are responses to your ads not handled or going into voicemail? They should be asking tons of questions and then actively listening and learning about your business. Calvin Coolidge said, “It takes a great man to be a good listener.” In order to be a great Direct Response Advertising Agency, they have to be amazing listeners and then be able to communicate clearly to you what they understand you are saying you need.

Tip #3: Find out how long they have been in the business.

We live in a world of start-ups. That’s fine when someone has a new technology and seeks funding from investors. But when it comes to a Direct Response Ad Agency, you want to find out how long they have been actively involved in the Direct Response space. It’s key because so much of the Direct Response world is about having the right contacts and insights as to where and how to get you the maximum amount of exposure for the least amount of money.

The media market is constantly changing. TV, Radio and Internet properties are buying each other out, consolidating, changing reps, merging and creating new offerings almost weekly. You need a team that is in the trenches week in and week out. The professional overseeing your company and campaign should be battle-worn, battle-ready and equipped with the experience to guide you to safe harbors.

Tip#4: Find an Agency that is not afraid to be honest with you.

Sometimes an idea you have has been tried; your agency should be open enough with you to say whether or not they feel it has the opportunity to work before you spend any money testing it. This relates back to Tip #3 and their experience. Business author James Altucher is quoted as saying, “Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.” You want your agency to listen to all of your needs and ideas and then help you navigate to bring the best ones to life.

This comes into play when it comes to copywriting, creative development, media planning, campaign management, refining results and even budgeting. They should tell you when you are spending too much or too little. They should warn you of pitfalls they have seen hurt past campaigns. They should communicate when the market is not favorable and deliver options to you, instead of just spending your money without concern for the end result.

Tip #5: Make sure you get along well with the key team members serving you.

The Direct Response Advertising Agency you hire should feel like an extension of your company. You should feel like you can pick up the phone, call, email or text and get an immediate response like you hired a team of marketing professionals inside your company. They should be responsive and ready to serve you. Sometimes personalities conflict. That’s ok. It’s just the world we live in. The truth is that Direct Response Media Planning and Buying is NOT easy. It’s a stressful, fast-paced, up and down roller-coaster-of-a-ride.

But you, as the client, should not feel as much of the twists and turns. That’s the agency’s job to take that stress off of you. So, if you feel like you just can’t work well with them in the beginning, then don’t hire them. There will be times that that media market will stress you both. You need open communication lines to understand each other and the challenges the market can throw at you. You should feel like you can share concerns and that you will be heard. You should really enjoy the relationship.

A good media buying agency has your best interest at heart. They should be proving it on a weekly basis with your campaign’s performance. You should really like working with them even when times get tough (e.g., most Mays and 4th quarters). No agency hits a home run every single week. However, if your communication lines are open and strong, then you will know you both are in it for the good of your company and the long-term success of your campaign.

Tip #6: Find out how your campaign performance is measured.

A solid Direct Response Advertising Agency should be able to communicate and show you how they measure the success of each campaign. From digital to broadcast to print, you should be able to watch the results of your campaigns come in, in real time. There is so much cutting-edge technology available to see how your television ads impact your Google search and call volume. Combine that with how radio, PPC and social media drives clicks, apps downloaded, calls generated and sales.

Here at DX Media Direct, we use a variety of third-party tracking software that allows clients to view their responses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s critical that all parties can see the same data at the same time. When questions come up about performance, you can point to specific dayparts, advertising outlets, creative and costs to determine what is really winning for you. Your Direct Response Ad Agency should help you understand what they are measuring, how they measure performance and what they are doing to refine the media plan week in and week out.

Knowledge is power. Measuring performance and managing the media mix is your agency’s job. However, your ability to see what is happening will give you comfort and internal data to review key performance measurements like conversion ratios by day of week, time of day, media outlet and media type. This is critical. Don’t miss it.

Tip #7: Make sure your Direct Response Advertising Agency can also help your craft your Direct Response messaging and creative.

The best media plan and execution in the world will fail if your creative is not solid or is poorly developed. In the traditional advertising world, the creative agency is usually separate from the buying agency. Many creative agencies don’t touch the media buying portion. They especially don’t want to execute a Direct Response campaign if they are not seasoned at doing it. There are a number of reasons why, but it comes down to being accountable for performance.

Your Direct Response Advertising Agency does not necessarily have to produce your creative, but they need to be able to warn you if your direct response copywriting, for example, will not perform and be able to fix it before you launch. If they feel great about the creative you’ve had produced at another agency is going to perform, all the better. But sometimes clients try making old creative work because they’ve invested money in it, and with a few changes the new agency can help increase response by 25% to 75%. You want that intel. You need that input. You will succeed more often than not if your agency can help you fix what is broken.